Saturday, January 14, 2017

On Needs And Their Biologic Window


  1. Critical periods seem to sum up Primal in two words. It's probably what most babies/children are crying about and most adults are running around trying to fix!

  2. Art,

    Remember Roberta Flack, 'Killing me softly'?

    When you stress the importance of not pushing a patient, not pushing the feeling, not allow the pain to become too sharp, even, as it peaks, you may take the patient's hand - that's killing me softly. And in the ensuing Primal I begged 'Dad, hold my hand!' , as I was on ice skates for the first time in my life, maybe age six.

    When you advocate warmth and tendernes, I melt. Thank you.


    1. Erik, I not only remember her but I know the guy who wrote it; a most unlikely writer. art

    2. Art,
      Rock me slowly!!!
      I wouldn't be surprised if it were you.

  3. Hi to all

    Have you watched "Hachi: A Dog's tale". I've cried my eyes out.

  4. Hi Art,

    you must be telepathic. My grandson is telling me his mum is spanking him again and also imposing random sanctions and punishments including excluding his dad.

    Of course if I raise this with anyone they all tell me to shut up, often in the 'nicest way possible'. . .

    Paul G.

  5. - I mean, luckily, my grandson had a solid first three years with my son as primary carer (because the mother was too young and too neurotic to cope), me and my daughter supporting. We now have a tight little family unit.

    It's us who have adapted the most to meet my grandson's needs even though he is now placed back with his mother, who seems to me about as inflexible (and transparent) as pure quartz. During the last 6 years I have tried so hard to protect my daughter from the imposition of a needy brother AND a needy nephew, she too young then, but now that she is 13 and he the nephew is 6, she loves him as a little brother (her words) and all is well when he comes to visit us and stay over with my son.

    All is well and peace reigns, so much so my symptoms have changed beyond recognition (that is a different story).

    But then my grandson gets back to his 'mother', usually by me being taxi grandad. She the mother only understands what she has been brainwashed to believe about 'little boys' and how 'firm' you need to be with them. Poor chap, half the punishments she meters out on him he doesn't know what he did wrong, probably because he didn't do anything remotely wrong, after all, he learned his 'morality' from us in the first three years, so why should he have learned anything about 'right and wrong' remotely connected to punishment? Her admonitions merely confuse him . . . Aaaand that is surely what the mother is so freaked out about. That's the thing about narcs set up as patsys by powerful people in the 'caring profession'. . . All of 'em are freaked out about loss of control. . .

    - That they must act out revenge on behalf of the more powerful peer or mentor to protect their sense of control in a chain of revenge, their unmet need to remain free to choose who to seek revenge on. Sheer thuggery - and women are not exempt. That follows in almost the entire psychology and psychotherapy profession as well; a 'tyranny of need' unfolds and naive young students learn to be abusive by default. . .

    I digress, and however, we love my little boy grandson, who now likes to play the guitar (and my congas). But his Dad & I occasionally hear him tell us stuff that's not right and we tell hims it's wrong that he be punished like that. Now my son challenges the bullying mother by text, he doesn't give in, he is finding the words to 'cut to the chase' with the bullying mother, we use NVC and get better and better at it. NVC & Primal Theory are a powerful mix by the way.

    I tell you there are some people who are only motivated by revenge and punishment, they are the most easy to brainwash and control. No doubt the social workers consider their unconscious covert projected revenge a great success, now that the bullying mother is letting the little boy have it. . . But this little boy is resilient, he loves cuddles and romps with us. He is not seriously damaged - yet. He is doing well at school. He is still coping. Somehow he is not succumbing to the onslaught of his mothers projected unmet need. . .

    Aaaand we know this because of the little boys act outs and catharsis and eventual deep primals he has on return to his Dad, who seems to have become his 6 year old sons therapist.

    My son said: "Well T**** definitely got something out yesterday"-, (acting out his mums aggressive act outs on his Dad for about 4 hours) and shouting in floods of tears: - "How would you like it if you had to take this"? Until collapsing into really deep crying and becoming completely normal afterwards - shining like the bright star he is.

    -"He really got something out yesterday"-. . .

    I have only one mentor to thank for this small but significant achievement here in UK.

    Thanks Art.

    Paul G.

  6. Hi Art,

    I just found this:

    -"I saw in the paper that Claude Steiner has died. He was a very significant person in my life. He and his colleagues formed the radical psychiatry collective in Berkeley in the 1970's and published a journal which my collective in Columbia, Maryland found to be a wonderful resource for learning and practice. Every issue was read from cover to cover. It was through this journal that I first learned about Wilhelm Reich and his work, bioenergetics, the "Rescue Triangle," the "Stroke Economy" etc. We began practicing bioenergetic self help in our group which changed my life.
    In 1975 my partner Lynne Anne and I moved to Berkeley in large part due to the presence of the Radical Therapy collective. It was time to get out of Maryland and the turbulent political scene in DC and jump into the new therapies and holistic health movement. It was a good time to be there (here) - the Vietnam War was ending, freeing up a lot of our psychic and physical energy. Within four months we had five weekly self-help groups running, within two years we opened the Healing Ourselves Center in a large dance studio ( and Dance Jam). Soon we met Helen Palmer, Kathleen Speech, Claudio Naranjo and the enneagram. Meanwhile we established programs based on peer counseling, bioenergetics, and Reichian work. Also hosted at our center Steiner and the RT group, Alexander Lowen, Myron Sharaf, and other leaders in the field.
    Steiner worked with Eric Berne and Transactional Analysis early in his career. He wrote a number of books including "Scripts People Play" and "Emotional Literacy." He was a psychiatrist who challenged his profession, helped found a movement, and influenced many people around the world. I am very grateful to him and his many colleagues for their leadership.
    If you are interested see

    Paul G.

  7. This should be in a book. A book to help parents deal with the damage they do isn't so severe where it can't possibly be fixed. Different personalities in children; parents many times don't realize what type of personality their child even is which is a great misfortune for both parties involved. To be a parent, one must have patience, understanding and kindness shown to the child through many of their youthful scenarios; many times it just isn't shown at all. Many times it is just "tough love" which can be just way too "tough" .

    1. I have written now 19 books. When will it be enough? I agree it should be in a book but who will write it? I get it. Art

    2. Art & beachcoast7,

      Well actually I am writing it.

      It's taking a very long time because the goal is a moving target. For starters there are literally millions of science papers, books & essays already written and published on 'correct parenting'. . . So, that's completely daunting. You have to say something different & special to make a dent in all those fine words that already exist and are pouring out from the global publishing machine weekly if not daily.

      Then, somehow you have to add the Primal perspective, which in this case is like pouring extremely concentrated ink into less than pure or transparent (muddy) water. . .

      Lastly, having dived into the melee, you can only rely on your own personal feeling experiences to validate the plot. Albeit in the framework of Primal, but that doesn't make your own experiences easier to get onto paper. . . It certainly makes it more challenging.

      Paul G.

    3. This is good that you are writing a book on parenting. Life is hard; especially now, with the population explosion. Just to get someone to take time and read, that is an accomplishment. I would write, but don't have the "spare cash".

  8. Paul,

    A child will never rebel or "do anything wrong", if the parent did not do something wrong to the child first.

    A child is born smart and sane, and made stupid and crazy by ignorant and crazy parents.

    There is no such a thing as a "bad" child, or a child who just "turns out bad".

    There are only bad parents.

    We are all only as good as we have been bred and brought up.

    If you have a problem with the product, you have to check with the factory for the cause of the problem.

    If someone treated the parent(s) the way some parents treated their children, the parent would instantly call 911 and have charges laid accordingly.


    1. Hi Steve,

      After slapping my son about repeatedly and leaving him to do a much bigger part of the childcare, the mother walked out on both of them leaving my son to hold the baby. She then had him beaten up by another one of her many boyfriends and attempted to abducted the child. She did it twice, the police attended and no charges were pressed. Before I understood what was happening my son collapsed with pre-psychotic episodes as an entree to his form of delayed reaction PTSD. Only I have acknowledged that these assaults and the strain on hium triggered his illness - he's a lot better now.
      Consequently the Authorities were involved and decided my sons' story was a narcissistic act out and that he had forced the mother to violence by his actions (this is classic DARVO) They then placed the boy with his mother and now she shouts and slaps the little boy about.

      The family support worker says she has the right to do this and it's 'her choice' to parent the way she sees fit.

      You couldn't make this stuff up. I know Art knows what's going on because he published a shed load of my posts on the subject. The reason why the little boy is resilient is because my son (the father)with my help did the first three years WITHOUT the abusive mother.

      I tell you, you really can't make this stuff up.

      Paul G.

  9. An email comment:
    "It is certainly sad to consider these things. Healing those things to any degree seems to take a long time. One thing I note is the deep desire to punish oneself and others that seems to walk hand in hand with neurosis. Our whole approach to such things, if any, is to punish rather than to heal. People need to feel what happened to them before they can appreciate and feel how that led them to be cruel and unloving to others, especially to those who were helpless in their care. I say this as an indictment of our whole criminal justice system, which instead of taking actions to prevent, protect and heal, seek instead to give an outlet to other neurotics to ease their own pain by punishing others. Oh, and what an excuse they have! Just the labels we give to those who "do wrong" speaks volumes about our lack of humanity. Such are the people who would rather even risk killing the innocent than to remove the death penalty. Our whole society is neurotic and that message can be overwhelming to most people. Working patiently, patient by patient, to begin a healing for the world is courageous. Thank you Art and France for being such courage in the heart of an insanely punishing and hateful world. You risk much pulling the "tail of the tiger" called neurosis. Failing to be the loving dad I would have wanted to be, yet having such loving kids, is a grief laid on top of personal agonies from my own childhood. My unreal self would like to punish me, call me unworthy, the real me cries and changes and gathers the strength to move on and join the primal revolution as best I can.

    Every post you make is a beacon of light in a very dark world...

    1. It takes a long time, but what if there were no cure. Then it would really take a long time. Primal Therapy is miraculous but it is no a miracle. We are doing people’s lives. art


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.